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Should I give up?

It's been more than a week now of the "ideal" conditions for my VFT's. There is no improvement on their condition. One seems to be rotting at the base of them stems one by one, and the other one just isn't picking up. It's limp and the traps are folded inside-out. Should I give up on them? As I've mentioned before, the lighting I'm using is a full-spectrum "day-light" from the pet store. Gives off heat but is not florescent. It simulates UV rays.

HELP! If I give up on these, I don't want to lose the next ones when I try again. I really don't seem to be getting the hang of caring for VFT's.
Are they getting enough moisture? Or it could be that they are to hot, which in turn would need water to cool them of. If so you may want to mist them really well.
The humidity has been hard to maintain inside my terrarium, but I've been doing my best to keep it between 60-75%. The temp. has been fairly steady with the light at 80-85 degrees. I've been leaving the light on during the day and turning it off at night at an attempt to simulate natural daylight and nightime hours. There is a layer of rock below the soil (peat and perlite) for excess moisture drainage. What could I be doing wrong?
Hmmm, not too sure you should be draining "excess" moisture...How wet do you keep the soil? I grow my traps in pots, and I sit the pots in a 1" tray of purified water. Keeps 'em pretty moist.

Did you plant the plants directly in to the terrarium? It's ok to do, it's just a pain when you need to remove them for winter dormancy. I would suggest that you leave them potted (don't re-pot them if you already took them out, just wait until you take 'em out the frige at Easter) and sit them in a tray in your terrarium.
Good Luck!!
By that I mean the rocks give the "extra" water a place to go so that if I happen to over-water the soil doesn't stay soaked. I've been doing my best to keep the soil moist but not saturated so that the roots don't rot. Is that what I'm doing wrong?

They are both planted directly in the terrarium. I still haven't figured out how to put them into dormancy without transplanting (again). The terrarium is too big to fit in the fridge and it's too cold outside here in winter to let them stay out there. I origionally had one of them in a pot by itself, and it didn't seem to improve then either. I'm almost at the point of giving up on these two and tossing them out. I know that might tick some of you off...sorry, but it's the way I feel right now!  
This same thing happened to me. I had my VFT's in a Terrarium, and they didn't do so well, when they started to wilt and it looked like they were dying I got them into draining pots with distilled wate underneath them and put them outside in the sun. Almost overnight I could see improvement in them. Ever since then they have been thriving and doing excellent. I don't know how the conditions are where you live, but if it is fairly warm and sunny, I would put them outside in different pots, maybe put them somewhere, where they get about 2 or 3 hours of direct sunlight a day, and then gradually let them get more direct sun. I find that it is not easy to grow CP's inside, they seem to do much better outside.
The conditions here are volatile weather-wise. The daytime hours can range from 18-19 degrees, but at night it's cooling to almost 5.
What is a drainage pot? Just a regular planter with the holes in the bottom? I've already transplanted 3-4 times. Would it be more harmful to transplant now into individual pots and put them ouside?
If you are using one of those blue daylight bulbs, then that wil be the problem. I find they are only good for preventing plants from going dormant over winter, such as seedlings.
Okie Dokie, so what might I be able to do that's agreeable light-wise? I've tried a 15 watt florescent bulb, but then the terrarium only maintains our room temp. of 70 degrees and I thought that wasn't warm enough?

Thanks for all the help so far everyone, I may not give up yet after all!
  • #10
From what I have read, it sounds like your current light is too hot for the VFTs to maintain mosture in thier leaves. I have worked in greenhouses where the termperature is so hot that no matter how much water the plants are given, they just wilt.

70 degrees should be ok for VFTs. Mine are being grown between 70 - 78 degrees indoors and up to 98 degrees in a terrarium on my back porch.

To see my plants: Nick's Carnivorous Plants

I have my VFTs in my terrarium planted direct in live long fiber sphagnum moss. The moss was dead when purchased, but started to grow over time. The plants indoors are planted directly into a mixture of peat andperlite. These are being grown under cool white fluorescents. The two smaller lamps in my indoor growth terrarium are compact fluorescent bulbs.

  • #11
Thank-you Nick. based on what I have been reading here, I have transplanted my VFT's back into their origional pots. So they are seperate again and can be moved any time without having to transplant again! Also, I have put them outside for a period of direct natural sunlight. The only problem with that is, the humidity outdoors here is barely above 40%.
My terrarium is still filled with the rock and soil (basically because I could find no-where else to put it without wasting it&#33
and I just dug holes in the soil to place my seperately-potted VFT's. If 70 degrees should be fine, then I may be better off to leave the lid off altogether. The plants get no "direct" sunlight where the terrarium is though, so should a florescent light be necessary, or should it be fine as is? (It's by no means dark where the terrarium is...it's in the livingroom which has a huge bay window. It just so happens that the sunlight that comes in that window does not shine directly to the side of the room the terrarium is on at any time of day).

Gee, not only am I feeling slightly hopeless about my plants, but I feel like I'm driving everyone else here crazy!
  • #12
Another question for you... The grow light you mentioned being in your terrarium, is this a fluorescent bulb or a incondescent bulb? If it is a flourescent grow light, you should be fine. Ifits a incondescent, it will be much too hot.

It is alos possible that the rock used in your setup is releasing harmfull minerals into the soil and killing off the VFTs.

  • #13
It doesn't say...only "broad spectrum" it's a "day Glo Neodymium Daylight Lamp for desert and tropical environements. I found it at a pet store with the lights you buy for an aquarium with snakes and lizards.
  • #14
Hello C-Newbie

I don't think I've said hi so....HI! Don't give up on your VFTs! I had one repeatedly dug up and mutilated by squirrels and now that I have it wired for protection, its put up two new leaves! Tough little bugger.

Don't worry so much about humidity. Often, when new to growing VFTs, people think they need high humidity and heat like a tropical plant. But these guys originate around the Carolinas' coast so they aren't in hot and steamy conditions like a rainforest or anything.

My VFTs were never happy in a terrarium (although others do grow them that way). If it all possible to grow outside, I'd recommend that or perhaps a sunny window sill. If you keep the soil wet and the pot in a saucer of pure water, thats all the humidity they need. They also appreciate the air ciruclation. Sometimes when kept enclosed, they will 1) get too hot 2) rot/mold from lack of air circulation.

You've already put them back in pots. That will help I think. Now just give them sunlight OR good fluorescent lighting (low heat output) and lots of water, and you should see some new growth after a while. Give them some time to recuperate.

And NO, you're not driving everyone here crazy. Everyone here has been in your shoes...and killed a VFT or two...or three. lol So ask all the questions you want...thats why this forums exists.
Hang around and you'll learn lots.

I hope they get better and you try more CPs.

  • #15
Just an afterthought...for artificial lighting...I use two 40-watt fluorescents...1 Gro-Lux and 1 cool white tube per fixture. Some people use Sunsticks. My plants seem happy with the Gro-Lux/cool white mix. You can get those at any hardware store. Incandescent lights get tooooo hot.

  • #16
Thank-you Plantakiss, That's encouraging!

They are outside on my fence now getting some sunlight. I'm thinking it might be an idea to leave the lid off my terrarium for awhile. The lid is by no means air-tight, but it is a complete cover. I don't know if that's too suffocating for them or not. Mostly I've been using that light during the day and leaving the lid half open on either side at the top to allow circulation. I'm still lost, but hopefully I'll get there!
  • #17
Me again! I'd leave the top off. There really is no need to keep them enclosed unless you just like it for looks or something. They really do like air movement and that will keep the crowns from rotting if they get wet. I try to simulate nature (as much as one can with a potted plant). Just think of how they would be living if they were in their native habitat. Lots of sun, lots of water, air circulation, warm summers, chilly winters....

I think you will be just fine!

  • #18
One other simple dilemma...my tank is a 5 1/2 gallon. It's not large enough at the top to fit a 12 inch florescent bulb, and I can't seem to find 6 inch tubes anywhere. Also, being that size of a tank, how much "wattage" should I need? 15 watt, 25 watt, 40 watt...???
  • #19
HI again C-newbie

You will most likely not be able to find a light fixture for a very small tank. I use common shop lights which have 2 tube slots. My smaller tanks are 10-gallon. With a ten-gallon tank, the 24" shop light (40 watts) works well. If you want to use the smaller tank, you may just have to deal with "overhang" at the ends of the tank. Oh...and the lights would be over the tank, not IN it.

My indoor CPs are on a plant stand (adjustable shelf levels). I hang the lights from the shelf above. My larger tanks have 2 banks of lights. Lighting might be a problem if you don't have any way to hang the light. I have heard of people resting the tubes on the top of the tank, but I don't know if that's safe.

  • #20
I'll be looking into shop light fixtures today. If I were to use a florescent bulb and place it just inside the top of the tank, the light would be about 6-7 inches away from the plant. Unless I found a way to place it above, but I don't know that a shop light sixture looks like yet!